You are not supposed to buy the gossip magazines that you see at the supermarket. They are posted at the checkout because you are supposed to flip through them while waiting in line. They’re not intended for purchase. The barcodes on the covers aren’t even real. If somebody tries to buy one, the cashier is supposed to discreetly hand them a card that says, “Up-to-the-minute gossip is available for free on the Internet.”
As you casually browse these publications at your local Safeway or Piggly Wiggly or whatever it’s called where you live, it may be difficult to grasp the truth that lies behind the coded messages the magazines use. To help you improve your reading comprehension, and as a public service, I offer the following examples of what they say and what they mean. All excerpts are from the Jan. 14 issues of Us Weekly, Life&Style, and In Touch.
What they say: “I am a big believer in marriage,” [Kate] Winslet has said.
What they mean: We included this older quote from Kate Winslet in a story about her third marriage because we wanted to subtly pass judgment on her for getting married three times.
What they say: What’s in my bag? Paula Abdul empties out her purse for us.
What they mean: Paul Abdul excuses herself, goes to the bathroom, flushes all the pills, comes back, empties out her purse for us.
What they say: Jessica [Simpson] takes her family on an Oahu getaway! … “She wanted a real family vacation,” a source tells Us.
What they mean: She wanted a real family vacation — and we ruined it, with paparazzi!
What they say: “Kanye will do anything for Kim…. He didn’t want to be on [her reality show] at all — not one episode. But he gave in for Kim.”
What they mean: A source tells us that shy musician Kanye West has been persuaded by his girlfriend to appear in front of cameras.
What they say: Ashton Kutcher [and] girlfriend Mila Kunis … dined at a Cedar Rapids Red Lobster with [his] family and friends. “She looked like she was almost a Kutcher already,” says a witness.
What they mean: “Her eyes were dead and soulless, and you could tell she was no longer able to form complete sentences, and it looked like all of her body hair had fallen out,” says a witness.
What they say: Yoko Ono told Rolling Stone magazine that Paul McCartney was responsible for breaking up the Beatles.
What they mean: Yoko Ono says she didn’t actually do the one thing she’s famous for doing.
What they say: “When I feel indulgent, I’ll have a dried fig with brie,” admits Jennie Garth.
What they mean: “I am constantly miserable,” admits Jennie Garth.
What they say: Chris Brown betrays [Rihanna] by cheating with a pretty blonde.
What they mean: Chris Brown finally stumbles, ruins perfect boyfriend track record.
What they say: Blake Shelton was handing out free copies of his CD during a JCPenney Holiday Giving Tour performance in L.A.
What they mean: Blake Shelton figured out how to get people to own his CD.
What they say: Celeb wedding planner Sharon Sacks’ advice for bride-to-be Kelly Clarkson? “A fresh green and white color scheme,” she tells Life&Style. “Something very organic.”
What they mean: Celeb wedding planner Sharon Sacks’ advice for bride-to-be Kelly Clarkson? “Oh my gosh, you guys actually called me back. Thank you! I was worried nobody would want a quote from someone claiming to be a ‘celeb wedding planner’! I really just made it up to get quoted in gossip magazines. OK, here’s my advice to Kelly: be my friend. Please, please be my friend. Since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted nothing more than to hang out with famous people. Please, Kelly, please like me. Oh, and a fresh green and white color scheme, something very organic. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Kelly, text me.”
What they say: Jessica Simpson could make fiancé Eric Johnson her husband before giving birth to [her second child] later this year.
What they mean: Jessica Simpson has set a date for her wedding but has not yet worked out the math to determine whether the baby will come before or after.
What they say: Known for making temperatures rise, One Direction hunk Harry Styles cooled down with Diet Pepsi on Dec. 20 in L.A.
What they mean: An 18-year-old boy who inspires sexual fantasies among the thirtysomething women in our office, who do not feel as uncomfortable about this as they ought to, bought some soda, and Diet Pepsi paid us to mention it.
What they say: Robert Pattinson goes home for Christmas alone after a massive blowout with Kristen Stewart.
What they mean: Now that “Twilight” has ended, it’s getting harder and harder to find reasons to talk about these two. Here is some information about what they did over Christmas vacation.
What they say: “Real Housewives of New Jersey”: Is the Feud Over? Teresa Giudice sends enemy sister-in-law Melissa Gorga a surprisingly sweet tweet.
What they mean: We lost three writers before we got to one who could write that sentence without committing suicide.
What they say: Kim [Khardashian] is jealous of Kourtney! Curvy Kim seethes as her sister Kourtney slims down. While Kourtney, 33, looked classy and trim, Kim, 32, seemed uncomfortable squeezed into a black-leather Alexander McQueen skirt and a too-tight cropped top that exposed her belly. Family insiders say the dueling outfits are proof of a longtime sibling rivalry that has taken an ugly turn as Kim tries — and fails — to lose weight.
What they mean: Ha ha, wouldn’t it be great if we made Kim develop an eating disorder?? Everybody point at Kim and call her “fatty”!
What they say: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie [vacationed] at designer Donna Karan’s lavish home, which includes three separate villas and costs a minimum of $10,000 a night to rent…. Donna has called the home her “best-kept secret” — but it’s not anymore, thanks to the Jolie-Pitts!
What they mean: Well, thanks to us, technically.
What they say: Kellan Lutz, from the “Twilight” films, says he had an epiphany during an eighth-grade trip: “When I took off my shirt, all the girls were like, ‘Oh, look at your abs!'”
What they mean: Kellan Lutz has been sexually objectified since his early teens.